Modulation of berry composition by different vineyard management practices

High concentration of sugars in grapes and alcohol in wines is one of the consequences of climate change on viticulture production in several wine-growing regions. In order to investigate the possibilities of adaptation of vineyard management practices aimed to reduce the accumulation of sugar during the maturation phase without reducing the accumulation of anthocyanins in grapes, a study with severe shoot trimming, shoot thinning, cluster thinning and date of harvest was conducted on Merlot variety in Istria region (Croatia), under the Mediterranean climate. Four factors which may affect grape maturation and its composition at harvest were investigated in a two-years experiment; severe shoot trimming applied at veraison when >80% of berries changed colour (in comparison to untreated control), shoot thinning (0 and 30%), cluster thinning (0 and 30%), and the date of harvest (early and standard harvest dates). Shoot thinning had no significant impact on berry composition, despite the obtained reduction in yield per vine. Lower Brix in grapes were obtained with earlier harvest date and if no cluster thinning was applied, although at the same time a reduction in the concentration of anthocyanins in berries was observed in these treatments. On the other hand, if severe shoot trimming was applied when >80% of berries changed colour, a reduction of Brix was obtained without a negative impact on berry anthocyanins concentration. We conclude that in cases when undesirably high sugar concentrations at harvest are expected, severe shoot trimming at 80% veraison may effectively be used in order to obtain moderate sugar concentration in berries together with the adequate phenolic composition.

Authors: Marijan Bubola1, Tomislav Plavša1, Goran Zdunić2, Sara Rossi1, Ena Bestulić1 and Sanja Radeka1

1Institute of Agriculture and Tourism, Poreč, Croatia
2Institute for Adriatic Crops and Karst Reclamation, Split, Croatia

Email: marijan@iptpo.hr

Keywords: severe shoot trimming, shoot thinning, cluster thinning, harvest date, berry composition

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